As OMI has grown, we’ve become keenly aware that our ability to grow our business in any substantial way is being severely stymied by our inability to scale. What does it mean to scale? It’s as simple as being able to get more customers and service them more effectively, so that we can make more money.
OMI has reached the point where we need to make important changes if we want to scale our business. It’s a typical story. The entrepreneur who starts a business, develops a set of services, and then grows the business to the point where they’re working day in and day out, making money and servicing clients, but in a way that requires them to work IN the business, while preventing them from working ON the business. Here at OMI, that’s well…me.
And so as part of our transformation for future growth, we are focusing on the changes we need to make in order for our service delivery to be scalable, efficient, and repeatable. We’re documenting and validating processes, and preparing for a time when I will be able to walk away from OMI whenever I need to, knowing that our clients will continue to be serviced. We’re going through a process of systemization.
So What Is Systemization, Anyway?
From a business perspective, systemization is simply about identifying those specific tasks that you do to complete your work for your clients, constituents, etc., and creating a model of those systems based on what your business does. Then using that model to organize and document those systems so that anyone in the organization can actually do the work.
Most organizations have a lot of the same systems – systems for hiring, firing, paying bills, onboarding new clients, purchasing assets – everything you do to run your business or organization is part your inventory of systems. The real challenge in documenting your systems is identifying those processes that comprise your secret sauce – the stuff you do for your clients that they pay you for – and documenting them so that the competent people you hire to grow your business can deliver those services just as well as you do. Plus – making sure to focus on those systems for the products and services within your business that have the most impact on your bottom line. Period.
That last part is the most harrowing – it requires you to look at your business critically to identify those clients that are adding value based on your plan for growth, and those who aren’t. As an entrepreneur, looking at your business critically is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever have to, at least it is for me. But it is necessary to achieve significant growth and so it’s a commitment I’ve made to OMI and to myself.
It’s a scary proposition for a controlling personality like me, but totally necessary. OMI has become an amazing source for businesses of all sizes to get work done – we want to expand our capabilities and continue to grow as a resource, and that simply is not possible without introducing systems into our business.
During our planning for all this, it occurred to us that other growing organizations might be going through the same challenges, and so we’ve decided to share our journey!
So in this series, the team and I will write about our journey to full systemization, which we expect to be very hard, and take a very long time. We do a lot at OMI – documenting our critical systems, and ensuring that we can transfer knowledge to the appropriate resources to execute independently will be a daunting task, one that will require resources, patience, and fierce due diligence. But we’re up for it!
OMI has chosen the Systemology® process developed by David Jenyns as our methodology to systemize our business. In the next installment of “Building Systems for Growth”, I’ll introduce you to the process, and talk about how OMI is approaching it. In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more, reach out to the team directly and we’ll be happy to tell you more!
Exciting times – stay tuned!